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Career Advice Career hacks

Problems are opportunities; in fact problems are gifts, here is how to unwrap them

The problems and challenges you’re facing today are your gifts.

Because these are opportunities in disguise. Most people do not open that gift. They don’t want to open that gift.

And that’s because the wrapper on that gift isn’t very nice. It’s unpleasant, and it’s uncomfortable. It’s something that people stay away from.

And so, despite the unpleasant wrapper, you have to approach it because you have to unwrap that unpleasant wrapper.

Because the gift is inside.

In fact, be thankful for the problems you’re facing today because you are lucky that you are being given those gifts. And make sure to unwrap that gift.

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Career strategy Career hacks

The #1 way to learn new skill and fast track your career growth

We all know that one of the keys to career growth is to continuously learn new skills. It is a career superpower.

People that can’t learn can’t survive in the modern workplace.

So how can we learn new skills quickly? Is there a hack?

Learning through audio or visual

Many people learn through audio. For example, you might be listening to some audio, maybe it’s a podcast, and you might be doing other things, but you’re always understanding the topic that’s going on, and you’re learning. Another one is watching videos. So, you are watching a video or hearing this audio, and you are learning. Those are great ways to learn.

Learning by doing

However, the best way to learn, which is great leaders have figured this out, is called kinesthetics. It is learning by doing. So, let me explain that. When we perform activities, that’s the maximum learning we get. So, when we are doing things with our hands, we are performing those tasks. That’s when our learning is at the maximum.

So, if your domain is programming or sales or marketing, the best way to learn is not just to listen and watch videos, which is great, and that’s helpful.

But apply those lessons and apply those concepts in real life. Do it, practice it, and review it. That is how we learn quickly and efficiently.

Let’s say we want to pick up communication skills, right? And then you can take a few classes, watch a few videos online, but soon you should be implementing them.

So, for example, you could be looking at opportunities to speak. Maybe you start with a small setting. Perhaps it’s just your core team, and then you speak there.

Then you review yourself, and pretty much, then you start addressing the whole team or a collection of teams or the entire organization.

That’s how you build up the muscle, a new muscle in terms of learning.

So, when you are trying to get into a zone of learning, try to figure out the things that I’m learning, the concepts that I’m learning, the key lessons, how do I implement them and what are the opportunities to implement them.

That’s the excellent leadership hack for learning new skills and adding them to your T-shaped skillset.

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Blog Career hacks Career strategy

Luck is when preparation meets opportunity

You may have felt this a lot of times, like; this person has the perfect job; this person lives in the perfect neighborhood. And it feels like that person is so lucky. But that is not the case. Because luck is all about being prepared, and it’ll be looking for opportunities and taking advantage of them. Being prepared means that you worked on your skills, and you’ve built your experience in the right areas over a period of time.

So, when opportunities arise, you are prepared to take advantage of those opportunities. This is how you create your own luck, which also means that you have to be in the game to win the game. And so think about the game that you want to play in. And if you’re in that game, because if you’re not in that game, then it is time to prepare and be on the lookout for opportunities to create your luck.

You want to be a successful leader; then, you must prepare yourself to be in the game and look for your next opportunity.

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Career hacks Career strategy

Technology has a First Mile and a Last Mile; where would you like to play?

How does technology make its way to the market, and what’s your role in that market? I like to view this as the first mile and the second mile.

The first mile is all about the creation of the product and the creation of the technology. It’s about making sure you are prioritizing the right features for the right market for the right customers, and then you’re putting engineering behind that to make that product come alive. And there might be a lot of scars on the backs because of that. Maybe it’s product strategy or product engineering or all of those things. And there might be some scars on the backs or as I like to call it ‘learning,’ right?

And the second mile is all about deploying that product, deploying that technology in the best interest of the customer to create the best outcome possible. And that involves a lot of knowledge about the customer or a set of customers or particular geographies or particular regions or specific types of processes and domains. But that’s the part where you’re able to create that value for the customer and create outcomes for the customer.

Now those two things have to happen. You need to have the first mile, you need the last mile, right? Now, the question is, do you know where your strengths are? Are you a first-mile person, or are you the last-mile person? And are you playing in the right field? The question is, are YOU playing in the right field?

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Career strategy Blog Career hacks

Career Progress: Are you camping or are your climbing in your career?

As we make progress in our careers, a good way to think about the journey is to see if we are camping or climbing.

There are times when we are in the middle of a transformation, we are learning new skills, we are putting in the hard work, and we are climbing towards our next opportunity.

And when we find a new opportunity, we camp.

When we find that opportunity, we make things great around us, we create value, and then we also enjoy the fruits of creating that value. We enjoy the rewards and the incentives that come along with that.

But after some time though, after you’ve camped for some time, you will start to feel too comfortable. And that is a signal for you to start climbing again.

What are you currently doing? Are you climbing, or are you camping?

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Blog Career hacks Career strategy Job performance

Take your job performance to the next level with these four steps (+bonus material) to

The average job performance review process creates more negativity than a positive work environment. There are multiple reasons for that and mismatch in expectations is one of them.

But you are here to be a CareerTiger, not just another ordinary clock-punching employee.

So here four steps to take your job performance to the next level. Plus a bonus step. Yes, there is a free prize inside.

Fundamental issues with job performance and what can we learn from them

The issue with job performance, or lower job performance, is because many people do not understand what’s expected of them in their job. In other words, many people who are in their jobs, they don’t know what their manager or their organization is expecting from them in that job. If you don’t know what that expectation is, then you won’t be able to perform according to that expectation. So, if you are not performing to that expectation, guess what? According to your manager and the rest of your organization, you are performing below par.

Therefore, it’s critical to understand what the right expectation is for your job and for your role. To do that and to exceed performance in your job, here are the four steps (+bonus) that I would recommend for you to go through.

#1 Understand expectations of your job role

The first step is to understand. Write down on a piece of paper … Don’t type, don’t whiteboard, just write down on a piece of paper what is expected of you in this role. What are your responsibilities? How will you be measured in this job? Having that information on a single sheet of paper is probably the most important thing you could do. So, again, the first step is to take a sheet of paper and understand your role in the organization, which is what are your responsibilities, and how will you be measured? That’s the first understanding step that you ever take. Write it down on a piece of paper.

#2 Review job expectations with your manager

The next one is … It’s likely difficult, but it’s doable. Once you understand the expectations of your role, the next step is for you to go to your boss and say, “You know, I’ve been in this role for some time. I would like to make sure I understand these expectations really clearly,” and you sit down with your manager and you go through your understanding of the role. You might actually be surprised that there might be differences between what you think your role is and what your manager thinks your role is, and maybe your peers or other execs in the company think your role is.

Therefore, it’s really important to align with your manager on expectations of your role

  • Sit down with your manager
  • Review the expectations of your role
  • Know how you’re going to be measured

Having a hard conversation about expectations is a thousand times better than years of mismatched expectations and poor job performance reviews.

#3 Reset expectations

Here’s the interesting part: you absolutely can reset some of those expectations.

Do your homework about your responsibilities for the role, and reset some of those expectations with your boss. Why is that important? Because your boss, your manager, the rest of the organization may not know enough details about your role versus others’ roles, and they may be thinking you are responsible for all of these things. So, this is a good opportunity for you to reset their expectations.

This could be a challenging or painful conversation. But having this conversation is a thousand times better than years of mismatched expectations and poor job performance reviews.

#4 Amp up your performance

Once you know the expectations of your role and you’ve reset those expectations and be on the same page with your manager and the rest of the organization, it is time for your performance to shine.

There is no question about that. There is no shortcut to hard work. You have to perform. But here’s the deal, as you perform, you will do much better now than prior years or prior months or prior time because you understand what’s expected of you; you understand what are your metrics, how are you going to be measured in the organization.

#5 (Bonus) Exceeding expectations

So, now you know what’s expected, and now you’re going to perform and exceed those expectations, which is the next part: exceeding those expectations. You know what’s expected and you continue to exceed those expectations. That’s how you go from a mediocre performer in the company because you do not know what’s expected of you, and now you go to an outstanding performer in the company because you know what’s expected of you, you perform, and you exceed. Let me give you an example of salespeople. You may have met many, many salespeople in your life, but the best salespeople in the business always meet or exceed their sales goal. You know why that is? That is because they have negotiated the sales number that they are responsible for, and they always exceed that number by performance.

As you outperform in this role, the bonus step for you as follows. Now you’re showing inward that you are performing at the next level. Step number five is to show outward that you are really performing at the next level. Show it in your body language and the way you come across. So, for example, as you’re outperforming, you need to make sure your body language is reflecting your performance. I.e., sit up straight, pay attention, have a presence in your interactions with your peers, with your teams, with your upper management.

Summary: Understand expectations, reset them with your boss, perform; there is no shortcut to hard work. You have to perform. And as you perform, you’ll perform much better because now you know how are you going to be measured, what’s expected of you, and you exceed those expectations.

Categories
Blog Career hacks Career strategy

How to hack your commute to get ahead in your career

Commute sucks: it eats up energy, focus and most importantly, time which leaves us with less opportunity to be productive and successful at work.

Commute also comes with variables that add to the drama. Traffic snarls. Train delays. Bad weather. Ugh.

via GIPHY

Time: our most valuable and non-renewable resource

If you work from home, hallelujah brother! Zero commute for you.

If not, then how far you from work. Everyone’s commuting these days has increased drastically: on a daily basis it might be an hour, two hours, or even God forbid three hours!

If we are spending all that time commuting, how can we take advantage of that time?

Because as you know, time is our number one non-renewable resource.

If you spend money, you can always make more money later. Buy if you spend the time, you will never ever get that time back even if you pay someone a ton of money.

Let’s look at 5 great ways to hack our commute times and invest in career building.

#1 Upgrade your knowledge

You can upgrade your knowledge during your car commute using podcasts and audiobooks.

  • Podcasts: Podcasts are generally free, you can go to iTunes or your favorite podcast location, download podcast. Some of my favorite podcasts are with Tim Ferriss who writes about productivity and business. There’s a lot of podcasts you can sample and increase your knowledge and upgrade your knowledge. Basically, you’re listening to it and you can actually take advantage of it while you’re driving, just listen to your podcast.
  • Audiobooks: you can download thousands of audiobooks on your favorite device through Audible.
  • Free audiobooks: If you’re looking for free audiobooks I would highly recommend to check out Overdrive. Overdrive connects to your local library and you can download audiobooks or even Kindle books

That’s how you can continue to enrich your knowledge and upgrade your skill set even when you are commuting.

#2 Nurture your network

This is kind of goes back to the topic about building great professional networks. When you’re driving or commuting, you can absolutely make phone calls. Picture this: you’re in the car, or at the airport and you’ve got 30+ minutes to kill.

via GIPHY

Make a phone call or two to your former colleague, someone in your network, maybe a former client of yours just to say hi, keep in touch. What a great way to take advantage of your commute while you’re keeping your network active and building your network.

#3 Make audio notes

Let’s say you’re driving, you think of a great idea. Just put an audio recording on your phone and just think through and put your ideas down in an audio note. Then, you can use that audio note later to transcribe and take down detailed notes. You capture your idea right then and there as you’re driving and you take advantage of your commute.

#4 Productivity and creativity with public transport, Uber etc

In some instances, many of you might be taking public transport where you’re not driving. Which means someone else is driving. Take advantage of that is to maybe do something on your computer: respond and clear out the email pile or create that pending presentation.

Another way would be to write detailed notes about a topic that interests you so that you can take advantage of it.

One of my favorite things to do when I’m commuting and not driving is to just open a regular notebook and write down my thoughts.

There’s something magical and special about physically writing down plans, concepts, and thoughts. That allows me to think outside of the box and get my ideas on paper. And then I can take pictures to put in my OneNote folder.

For me, that’s the best to come up with ideas and concepts for a future implementation.

#5 Hack the commute and get your exercise

Complementing or replacing the regular commute by walking is a great way to get your exercise. And you could keep listening to audiobooks or podcasts while you are walking to taking the stairs.

Getting exercise is key to getting more focus and energy at work.

So there you have it: five great ways to hack your commute and turn it into a career-transforming practice. Would you like to add some more ways to this list? I’d love to hear from you!